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Illustration by Muhammad Faizan
Illustration by Muhammad Faizan

The hectic exam season is almost over, and the much-awaited summer vacation is almost here. Plenty of leisure days to be as lazy as we want is what we all anticipate throughout the year.

However, unless you have a well-planned vacation, you can easily end up just wasting away your time, being bored and complaining about having nothing to do. Summer is the time to relax, recharge and recreate, and it is important to use this free time wisely.

With Ramazan already here when schools close, most of us are going to take things easy while fasting in the summer heat. This is a good thing because it gives us the chance to just spend time with the family and undertake some spiritual pursuits. And as we do that, we can also make plans for what else to do in this free time that is fun and productive too.

But your plans should be made keeping in mind that most places in Pakistan remain very hot in summer, so if you live in one such place, your focus should be on plans that can easily be executed indoors. Whatever you do, your parents will be involved in it some way, so do discuss everything with them beforehand to make sure your plans are convenient for them too.

Once a year comes a time when you are free to do as you please, so plan this vacation wisely to get the most out of it

To help you make your vacation plans, let us look at what one can do to make the most out of it.

De-clutter

It is important that you clear away all the clutter. Clean up your room, your study spaces, shelves and cupboards. Discard and give away anything you will not be using or have outgrown. It will help you organise yourself.

Clearing up the mess around you helps you to clear your mind and cheer you up. A messy surrounding affects the thought process and mood, without you realising it. So get rid of all the mess! And you will be also making mum very happy by cleaning up and reducing her workload.

Update your closet

It’s time to refresh and update your closet. Check out what you have that you can still use. If there is anything that is a little outdated in terms of style, but can be altered and modified easily, then do it or have it done.

Actually doing it yourself isn’t a bad idea as learning some hand or machine sewing is a life skill that can come handy anytime as you can’t find or rush to tailors every time. A few stitches or button may just come lose, making a nice expensive shirt/dress completely unusable. But if you are handy with a needle and thread, you can fix it in a few minutes and it will be as good as new again. And this skill is not gender specific — there are more male tailors than female ones, right?

Vacation is also a good time for shopping as you have more time on your hand and can check out more shops for bargains and discounts, and thus update your wardrobe with minimum load on your parent’s budget. But of course, avoid this during Ramazan as it is too hot during the day and the shops just charge exuberant prices just because of Eid.

Hang out

You have plenty of time to hang out with family and friends now. So discuss this with your parents and see what they give you the permission for, then plan out some fun get-togethers. And with everyone having their school and colleges closed too, others will also be free to join in, and your parents and siblings are also comparatively relaxed with no school and study schedules to supervise.

So renew your bonds. Pick up on old threads, meet up with long lost friends, and spend time with grandparents and cousins.

Read

Finally, you have all the time you wanted to catch up on your favourite books. Grab a book, pair it up with a slush, sit back and enjoy. Visit bookstores, explore different genres and read up on your favourite authors. It’s the best time to fill up your mind with the pearls of wisdom of the world’s greatest minds and thrilling tales.

And for the gadget freaks, they don’t have to pick up a book to read because there are many things to read on the internet. Online magazines, websites with articles, online books and so much more is there for them to explore. But always visit websites appropriate for your age and with the approval of you parents.

Visit

Let the curious explorer inside you wander. Explore your city or town. Visit parks and museums. Check out places you have never been to, try to find out about the latest happenings and be a part of it. Of course, you not only need the permission of your parents, but their company too as safety is paramount.

Plan short trips to places of your interest, it is the best way to have a mini picnic with the family.

Picnic

Of course, this is the best part about summers. Once Ramazan is over, plan magnificent picnics and enjoy to your fullest. Visit beaches or resorts. Go on hikes or relax at a farmhouse. It is the perfect time to enjoy with family and friends, you’ll be surprised at the amount of memories you can create.

Pick up a new skill

Without the pressure of studies, summer vacation is a good time to learn new things. Join summer camps, clubs and societies. Enhance your existing skills or learn a new one. Explore your hidden talents, you’d be surprised to find an artist inside you or perhaps a baker who can cook up some great cookies.

Learn a new sport

Summer is a good time for playing all kinds of sports, not to mention that it is the season for swimming. Indulge in your favourite sport and polish your skills. Or better still, learn a new sport you always wished to play.

Garden

Gardening and interaction with nature is like food for the soul and the mind. Explore and enjoy nature by spending more time in natural surroundings. Learn more about plants and do some planting of your own.

You don’t need to have a garden for it, potted plants can also add to the beauty of your surroundings and many plants, including vegetables and herbs can be grown in pots. Read more about it, visit your local nursery and get some plants or seeds that are suitable for the kind of place you live in.

Plants not only add beauty to our surroundings but also give us the all important oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air.

Get creative

Let your imagination run wild and put the concept of recycle and reuse into action, and create the best out of things long forgotten. It is the best way to remain productive and also to create the things you had always wished but never found the time to make them.

Serve community

I believe this is the noblest thing you can do with your leisure time. Become an active citizen and contribute positively towards society. Volunteer for a local cause, hospitals or get involved with non-profit organisations. Doing social work and community service builds character, gives you a sense of responsibility, leadership and cultivates compassion.

Vacation

And of course the most exciting part of these holidays is when you are looking forward to a trip out of town! Be it a visit to another city or altogether a new country, it’s surely the most memorable experience. The traveller inside you must make the most out of it by noting things down, taking photographs, collecting souvenirs and learning about the new places and people you visit.

In case you are visiting a new place where people speak a different language, before going there try and learn some basic sentences and words that will be useful to you when you are there. You can easily do this through websites and videos on the internet as there is a treasure trove of language learning resources and tools that will help you learn a lot in just days.

So take a deep breath, wink at the sun, stretch your arms and hug the bright prospects that summer holidays bring. Be sure to make it count as the best summer!

Published in Dawn, Young World, May 26th, 2018

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